It’s not everyday you get a call to face what a lot of people consider to be the best pound for pound women’s fighter in the world. When Valerie Coolbaugh was asked to face #1 Bantamweight fighter Tara LaRosa at the Locked in the Cage event in Philadelphia this Friday, Coolbaugh didn’t hesitate.
“My reaction was pure adrenaline excitement,” Coolbaugh told Fightergirls. “She has always been one of my idols and the opportunity to be in a cage with her is amazing! I jumped at the chance and said yes before even talking to my manager (which got me in trouble, LOL). I think Tara is an amazing fighter and person and the fact that I will be across from her is like a dream come true!”
Coolbaugh has been training for the past month for this battle hardcore, and doesn’t want to waste the opportunity to prove herself against LaRosa. So much in fact Coolbaugh made some sacrifices, no only in conditioning, but in time management.
“I have added additional strength and lifting workouts to my routine, shortened my running distances (to help keep weight ON), and worked more boxing. My workouts have all been at least 2 hours, and most closer to 3 hours, and that doesn’t include running or lifting. I rotated my teaching schedule to allow additional training time, which meant a slight pay cut, but Tara is worth it!”
As for a strategy going in?
“I am hoping this will be stand-up. She really has few flaws and is SOOO strong in all aspects of the game, but i think my best chance with her will be on my feet. I have done so much training on takedown defense, movement and pivots, and counter striking and I hope to be able to showcase that in this fight. I am more comfortable on the ground, and wrestling is my original background, but I think she may have the upper hand here, and she is naturally bigger than me, so I hope to keep it standing and use my movement and cardio, and strength in the clench, to keep it on our feet.”
Coolbaugh hopes to prove her worth in the fight, and an upset in front of LaRosa’s hometown would rocket boost her to the top echelon of women’s mma.
“My goals coming into this fight are to be the aggressor, keep the heat on her and hope it may throw her off her game plan; stay on my feet and avoid the takedowns, and not get caught in an armbar (LOL). I just want to give her a really great fight in her hometown.”